Fish Farmer - - Contents -

What’s hap­pen­ing in aqua­cul­ture in the UK and around the world

A NEW re­port has called for more pro­mo­tion of Scot­land’s aqua­cul­ture sec­tor and sup­ply chain as a re­ward­ing long-term career choice, par­tic­u­larly for young peo­ple and for women.

The ‘Skills re­view for the Aqua­cul­ture Sec­tor in Scot­land’ was com­mis­sioned by High­lands and Is­lands En­ter­prise (HIE) on be­half of the Aqua­cul­ture In­dus­try Lead­er­ship Group (AILG), and in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Skills Devel­op­ment Scot­land.

Car­ried out be­tween July 2017 and Jan­uary 2018, the study in­cluded con­sul­ta­tions with stake­hold­ers and em­ploy­ers in the sec­tor and the sup­ply chain, and an on­line sur­vey of em­ploy­ers.

The re­port high­lights key ar­eas of spe­cial­ism for fu­ture em­ploy­ees that go be­yond the boat han­dling, fish hus­bandry, fish feed­ing and bi­ol­ogy skills nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with aqua­cul­ture.

As the sec­tor and its sup­ply chain grows, so too will de­mand for skills in en­gi­neer­ing, dig­i­tal and IT, as well as lead­er­ship and or­gan­i­sa­tional man­age­ment.

The re­port high­lights a gen­der im­bal­ance in the in­dus­try and ed­u­ca­tion pipe­line, and an age­ing work­force. It rec­om­mends more pro­mo­tion of aqua­cul­ture as a career op­por­tu­nity for school leavers, grad­u­ates and other po­ten­tial re­cruits.

Train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion should be ac­ces­si­ble to learn­ers whether they are full time or in em­ploy­ment. The study en­cour­ages the in­dus­try to en­hance work based learn­ing and vo­ca­tional train­ing, and en­sure this is ac­ces­si­ble to in­dus­try em­ploy­ees across the coun­try, par­tic­u­larly in ru­ral ar­eas.

The re­port fur­ther rec­om­mends more con­sis­tency in train­ing to cre­ate ac­cred­ited in­dus­try stan­dards that are trans­fer­able across the sec­tor, and the devel­op­ment of a dig­i­tally en­abled work­force.

The geog­ra­phy in Scot­land, and the High­lands and is­lands specif­i­cally, pro­vides a nat­u­ral ad­van­tage for the farm­ing of fin­fish and shell­fish.The sec­tor is al­ready worth around £620 mil­lion to the econ­omy and sup­ports many vi­tal jobs, with the sup­ply chain ex­tend­ing across Scot­land.

There is a gen­eral con­sen­sus that aqua­cul­ture in Scot­land has the po­ten­tial to grow sig­nif­i­cantly in the com­ing years, in line with in­creas­ing global de­mand for fish and shell­fish. One of the chal­lenges to en­sure this growth is the avail­abil­ity of a suit­ably skilled work­force.

Ru­ral Econ­omy Sec­re­tary Fergus Ewing said: ‘This re­port high­lights the im­por­tance of de­vel­op­ing and re­tain­ing a well trained and highly mo­ti­vated skills force. For a sec­tor that has a sig­nif­i­cant fo­cus on sus­tain­able growth in the fu­ture, it is clearly be­com­ing even more im­por­tant to be ac­ces­si­ble and to be an em­ployer of choice.

‘I look for­ward to fu­ture dis­cus­sions around how we might look to achieve those as­pi­ra­tions and how we can break down any po­ten­tial bar­ri­ers as aqua­cul­ture has a key role to play in our eco­nomic am­bi­tions, not least through in­no­va­tion and the pro­vi­sion of highly skilled STEM job roles.’

Ste­wart Gra­ham, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Gael Force and co-chair of the AILG, said: ‘This is an ex­cel­lent re­port born out of one of the in­dus­try’s Lead Rec­om­men­da­tions in the Aqua­cul­ture Growth to 2030 strat­egy.

‘It high­lights, as we might have ex­pected, the ex­ist­ing in­cred­i­ble di­ver­sity of high qual­ity jobs and ca­reers in Scot­tish aqua­cul­ture.

‘How­ever, more im­por­tantly, the re­port sets out the won­der­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties the in­dus­try presents now and go­ing for­ward to 2030 for new en­trants es­pe­cially women and young peo­ple.

‘We are aware in the pro­duc­tion sec­tor and the sup­ply chain of the ever more so­phis­ti­cated science, en­gi­neer­ing and dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy be­ing de­ployed in fish farm­ing and its sup­pli­ers like my own com­pany too.’

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